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fork-558805_640If you have worked with me one-on-one or even in one of my group programs you are probably going to chuckle when you hear me say this. Not just because I have already told you that this is your most powerful tool for weight management but because of the excessive number of times we have revisited it. That which I’m referring to as

The #1 Most Important Eating Tool I Give All My Clients is…


So, what is a hunger scale?

Simply put, it is a measurement tool to assess how hungry or full you are. Most people pick up on the concept pretty easily. It’s a basic 1-10 scale, which we will review below, not rocket science. The challenge lies in actually staying within the appropriate range on the hunger scale. Stay tuned for more on that.

Here is THE Infamous Hunger Scale

10- Super Stuffed: You are so full that you feel nauseous. It would be painful to take another bite. Activity is out of the question.

9- Uncomfortably Full: You feel like you need to loosen your clothes. Breathing may feel somewhat uncomfortable. A light walk is doable but probably not going to happen because it would be uncomfortable.

8- Full: You are just a little bit uncomfortable. Food doesn’t taste as good as when you first started.

7- Perfectly Comfortable: You are satisfied as if you ate just enough. You may notice that your eating pace starts to naturally slow.

6- Comfortable: You can definitely feel that there is food in your stomach but that you could still comfortably eat a little more.

5- Neutral: You are no longer hungry but don’t feel satisfied either. You don’t feel the food in your stomach but it doesn’t feel empty.

4- A Little Hungry: You stomach feels a little empty or hallow. You may notice that your mind begins to naturally start thinking about food.

3- Hungry: You are feeling uncomfortable. Your stomach might physically growl at you.

2- Too Hungry: You are feeling very uncomfortable. You may find that you are irritable and unable to concentrate.

1- Ravenous: At this point you might eat a shoe (just kidding). But seriously you are feeling pretty desperate to eat. Nausea and/or a headache may kick in. You might even feel weak or light headed.

Where Should You Be on The Hunger Scale?

Ideally you will start eating when you are at a 3 or a 4 on the hunger scale. If you wait any longer your survival instincts are going to kick in and you are mostly going to be concerned with eating (anything) and making a healthy choice will become much more difficult. Also, your body deserves to eat when it feels hungry, period.

If you are trying to lose weight, stop eating when you are at a 5 or a 6 or occasionally a 7.
If you are trying to maintain your weight, stop eating when you are at a 6 or a 7.

As I mentioned before, understanding the hunger scale is pretty easy. Implementing the hunger scale can be quite a challenge for many. I know I struggled with it for quite a while before I got it down. I mean come on, one more bite of cheesecake just feels good… right? Well maybe for a moment but it may not feel so good 15 minutes later when you’re uncomfortably full. It will feel even worse the next time you can’t button your pants.

Want to learn more about following a hunger scale?  Check out 3 Simple Tips to Make Following a Hunger Scale Easy and 3 Steps to Stop Emotion Eating

If you are looking for a non-diet approach to living in a body you love without constantly worrying about what you eat then contact me at for a free strategy session or schedule an appointment online.

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Dina Garcia, RD, LDN
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